The Thermometer Never Lies

Fever Thermometer

“But it can,” I insisted. “The battery may have run out. The mercury might be misbehaving.”

“No such luck. It is a brand new thermometer. Plus, I don’t even need one—your forehead is hot enough to make luchis on.”

It was a beautiful day outside. February in Delhi is a wonderful time. The bite of winter is gone, and the sun is golden and inviting. It was the ideal weather to go up to the roof, bite into peanuts, play with my ping-pong ball, and race with the kittens. Instead, here I was in bed, wrapped in rugs, facing the prospect of a perfectly glorious day sacrificed to fever. Continue reading

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Stagnant Life

Danube, Vienna

Sometimes, nothing seems to move. Somnolent mornings transition to sleepy afternoons, and before you know it, night arrives. You wake up the morning after, unable to believe another day just went by. Another day that you spent working, fixing meals, planning to-do lists, meeting social commitments. There isn’t a single thing on the horizon that you look forward to, not even the prospect of a vacation. Because time. Money. Leave approvals. Kids. It will soon be a new month; half the year will be gone by the time you have arranged your closet. Life will go on, interspersed with births and deaths, career highs and lows, mood swings, and endless cups of coffee. But none of those will nudge life from its rut.

How bleak. How dismal. Surely, there is more to life than just surviving each day and planning for the next day in an uncannily repetitive style? Continue reading

I Don’t Know Where They Have Gone

Swing on the porch

“It has become really hot in Delhi. Perhaps, he likes to stay inside the house.”

“The weather never bothered him before.”

“Have you looked carefully in the park when you go for your evening walk?”

“He isn’t there. He isn’t in the bank, the market or the post office either.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. My grandfather went on: “He has disappeared, just like everyone else. Only I remain.” Continue reading

Dealing With Loss

Beautiful evening

It has been five years since I lost my mother to breast cancer. I have never accepted this publicly on this blog, keeping her alive in imagined conversations and shared moments that will never again be. But she doesn’t linger anywhere—not in her bedroom back in Delhi, not in the photo albums of my birthdays, not in her old clothes that I have clung on to and insist on wearing now and then. She lingers only in my memories, in a big room in my heart that she owns for the rest of my life. And while I will never let go of her, I have come to realise over time: it is essential to deal with loss. Continue reading

Acceptance – #AToZChallenge

Right from the cradle—actually, from the birth canal—we are constantly pushed. There is the push to meet developmental milestones, to be the healthiest baby around, the chirpiest toddler, the brightest student. We grow up, but the push never really lets up. For those of us who grew up amid considerable jostling, it can be hard to fathom when this push ceases being external. We internalise this drive; we beat ourselves up for missed goals, unmet deadlines, and un-kept promises.

Life needn’t be so hard.

This first day of April, as I begin the #AToZChallenge—the first time I am taking it up—I want to remind myself and anyone reading this that it is okay not to achieve certain things. Sometimes, one must accept instead.

Acceptance

                   Picture: http://www.twowisewomen.org

So, this April, while I endeavour to eat healthily, I will accept that there will be days when I partake of ice-cream, fried deliciousness and one zero-nutrition snack after the other. I will attempt to reach out to people who care for me and those I hold dear. But I will willingly accept my occasional need for a cocoon into which no one may enter. Every day, I will try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, but I won’t kill myself with guilt if I watch that Netflix series till past midnight or lie in till noon once in a while. Some dirty dishes can linger in the sink for a few hours; they won’t perish and neither will I. Continue reading

What To Do When You’re Simply ‘Not Good Enough’

Feeling not good enough

You’re not ‘good enough’. They all have better choices, those people on the other side of the table. Better, more able candidates to fit into the job role you were aspiring for, the project you were hoping to land, the man you were crushing on.

Some of the refusals are kind. We want different things, they say. You will get other opportunities that will fit you better. I don’t think of you like that even though you’re an incredibly special person. Others are brutal. They say things to your face, going off hand-in-hand with new friends, ghosting your e-mails, expressing without an ounce of doubt that you are not worth your salt.

What can you do when you’re just not good enough? Continue reading

I’m Going Back to Malory Towers

I recently discovered this captivating blog by Meenakshi, on an afternoon when some train of thought led me to a Google search for Darrell Rivers. The Head Girl of Malory Towers, my favourite boarding school of all time lovingly built by Enid Blyton. Meenakshi wrote beautifully from Gwendoline’s perspective, one of the (un)popular girls in the school, and her writing had me completely hooked.

Where have those innocent, carefree days gone when acing it in a subject, becoming School Captain, and catching your crush’s eye was the most joyful prospect of life? In our rush to grow up – or maybe we didn’t have enough choice – so many early pleasures of life have been strewn along the way, never to be reclaimed. Continue reading

Trust Me, This Little Habit is Truly Life-Changing

It’s unlike me to propagate life-changing advice. I usually turn up my nose at anyone who does, for come on, everyone has a life that is diametrically different from yours, unique in a manner unknowable by a generic life-coach.

But then, I am not a life-coach. I am only someone who has recently picked up a habit and is all aglow with its miraculous power.

Here it is: Continue reading